Petra Šuštar’s three book meditation series for children invites its readers into a world of relaxation and calm. An elementary school and meditation teacher, and an avid meditator herself, Šuštar began writing for children to share with them strategies that would help them cope with difficult emotions and situations.
We spoke to Šuštar to find out more about the journey that brought her here, and her books into being.
1. How did you become interested in writing for children?
It was a kind of natural outcome. I have worked with children in all of my jobs so I am familiar with their needs and interests. I’ve also always liked to express myself through creative writing. So the work I’ve done until today and the medium which I rely on to express myself came together in my children’s books. This I am very happy about since it has put me in contact with a much larger audience, with whom I can share my knowledge, ideas and creativity.
2. How did you choose to write a fairy tale meditation series?
I practice meditation myself and I am also a meditation teacher. I really wanted to pass on what I knew to a wide range of children, but I was unsure of the appropriate medium. My experimentations resulted in the first book in my fairy tale meditation series. The book was a great success and received such encouraging positive feedback, I had to write two more 😊.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
When writing the first book, there really was no plan. I had ideas, inspirations, and writing it up happened quite spontaneously. But for books two and three, I practiced a lot of focus thinking after I noted down my ideas. I had to do more planning because it was now a series, and the books needed to stand together in the way they would be used and the ideas they would cover.
4. How does being a schoolteacher impact your writing?
In my everyday work with children I see that there is a lot of stress in life nowadays, even for the youngest members of our societies. This is why I began to write stories that could help them relax. Working with children gives me the opportunity to conduct continuous research, which in turn becomes input for my work in the field of writing.
5. How do you feel about your books being published digitally?
It really is a wonderful feeling. It gives my work the chance to travel wider and faster, so every day, my teachings can reach more children. Also, because my books are meditation stories, the read aloud option the digital world can offer makes it possible for children to meditate on their own, or for parents to meditate together with their children (since everyone can close their eyes 😊). This is just great!
The first book in the trilogy, The Emerald Green Forest, was written to help children cope with difficult emotions such as fear, sadness, and worry. The second book, The Magic Tree focuses on self-acceptance and acceptance of others, and book three, Stellar Dreams is a sleep meditation to cleanse unpleasant feelings encountered during the day. All three books are beautifully illustrated by Zorana Živić.